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  • How can drug addiction help us understand obesity?
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This review article by Volkow and Wise elucidates the many similarities between drug addiction and overeating/obesity. They consider genetic, environmental, developmental, and neurobiological factors implicated in the two conditions. One noteworthy image is figure 3 shown above, which reveals the differences in D2R density in control subjects and obese subjects. These brain images look similar to those seen in control vs. drug-addicted patients as shown in another figure in this paper. In addition, figure 3 shows that the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and D2R density is inversely proportional. The authors of this paper note that the alterations in dopamine reward circuitry (as hijacked in drug use and addiction) are almost identical to those changes seen in obese subjects, leading to the conclusion that researchers should employ the known mechanisms of drug-addiction to help clarify the neurobiological mechanisms underlying obesity.

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